Māori Cultural Performances
At Te Puia, we tell our stories in many different ways. One of our most entertaining forms of storytelling is kapa haka (Māori performance art) and other cultural performance. Every day at Te Puia, we tell ancient and modern stories through song, dance, poi and stick games. In earlier times, these activities provided training for agility and co-ordination.
The concerts at Te Puia are an easy and exciting introduction to our culture. Visitors gather outside the main entrance to the Marae (meeting place). A traditional karanga (welcome) marks the start of 45 minutes of song and dance inside the meeting house. Here, surrounded by the beautiful wooden carvings of our ancestors, visitors are treated to harmonies, the seductive poi dance, the ferocious haka (war challenge), and the complex tititorea (stick games).
During the tititorea, eight sticks fly from four different directions. The receiver must deftly catch and flick the sticks on while keeping in time with the rhythm of the song.
Though Māori performing arts are demanding for the performer, there is always room for laughter. The Māori sense of humour is legendary and many of our most famous Māori entertainers come from the Rotorua area. ‘I’m determined to make visitors smile,’ explains performer Nero Panapa. ‘By coming here and having great fun, people will see that deep down we are really comedians.’